- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - Rep. Mele Carroll said Tuesday she will resign from her seat representing Lanai, Molokai and parts of Maui in the state House of Representatives.

Carroll chose to resign due to health problems after consulting with doctors and family. She is suffering complications from previous cancer treatments which may affect her quality of life and her ability to do her job, said Carolyn Tanaka, spokeswoman for the House majority, in a statement.

“Making the decision to step down has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do,” Carroll said in a statement. “It is a heartbreaking reality that I have to face. … Every day that I came to work was a blessing and something I never took for granted. I cannot say enough about the dedication of people I have met in my journey through the state Capitol, they and my fellow legislators have become my family.”

Carroll began her career as a lawmaker in 2005, when she was asked by former Gov. Linda Lingle to serve. During her tenure, Carroll was chairwoman of the House Committee on Human Services and the Legislative Hawaiian Caucus. She was instrumental in helping secure funding for the new emergency medical helicopter service for Maui County, Tanaka said.

“Rep. Carroll has worked hard to call attention to the needs and wishes of the people of Maui, and I’ve personally witnessed how much she has sacrificed and seen how passionate she is about her role as their representative,” Souki said in a statement. “I speak for every member of the House in wishing her well and in expressing our gratitude for all that she has done for the people of her district, the Legislature and the state of Hawaii.”

The resignation is effective Feb. 1. Starting that day, the Democratic Party has 30 days to submit names of potential replacements, Tanaka said. Gov. David Ige will have 60 days from Feb. 1 to choose a successor.

Carroll thanked Souki and former Speaker Calvin Say for their support when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments during her service in the Legislature.

“I will never forget the sensitivity and compassion they bestowed upon me,” she said.

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